As the recent publisher of a new kids’ book, The Undercover Kids’ Holland Adventure, I am always on the lookout for great books for kids. www.theundercoverkids.com
A recent book review blogger said she only reviews books once they come out in paperback. I guess she reasons that we, readers, only buy books or take books out of the library once they are cheap. And so the reviewer waited a year, when the paperback book was finally published, to finally talk about this kid’s adventure.
She admitted in her review, she missed the mark in this book by waiting the year. And I agree.
Siobhan Bowd’s book, The London Eye Mystery, introduces the readers to Ted, the younger brother of Kat. Ted loves to talk about weather patterns; he has a great memory for facts and has a hand he has difficulty in controlling – it shakes. He also has trouble in dealing with his emotions and can’t seem to quite understand the feelings of others. Dowd creates this character Ted with all the revealing symptoms of autism, but the word is never used to describe him. She talks about Ted’s teacher, who advises Ted to smile when others smile because that will help him make friends. And he is leaning other things to: To look in the direction of people who are speaking to him; to understand that if someone is crying they are having a problem and to try an control his shaking hand.
But through it all, he solves the mystery of the disappearance of his visiting cousin, Salim. Ted’s favorite thing is to fly the Eye. Like a Ferris Wheel, you sit in a capsule with 21 other folks and twist and turn above London. Salim goes on the first capsule while Ted and Kat wait on the ground for Salim to complete his spin. But the brother and sister don’t see Salim get off his capsule. And now the adventure begins.
Dowd is great in getting the true sibling love-hate relationship. We “listen” to Ted work out his frustrations as he tries to get others to listen to the nine scenarios he has created as to what might have happened to his cousin. There is the understanding mom who gets frustrated with Ted’s frantic ways. The dad who bulldozes large building to make way for the new. A crazy Aunt Gloria who uses a long cigarette holder as she smokes. And Salim’s dad who is an doctor.
The issues of sibling relationships, relationships with moms and dads and a international flavor that we don’t often see in kids’ books. All this, plus the unusual Ted, makes this a must read for kids and their parents.
I am sorry to report that Siobhan Dowd died of breast cancer on 21 August 2007, aged 47, Just before Dowd’s death, the Siobhan Dowd Trust was set up, where all the proceeds from her literary work will be used to assist disadvantaged children with their reading skills.
The Londone Eye Mystery